It shouldn’t be up to your neighbors to decide.

Your happiness is just as important.

The neighbors who complained about us are “within spitting distance” of our goat and hen yard, so says Animal Control. Well I can’t spit that far, and even if I could there is a tall wooden fence separating our yards, ensuring that my spit, our animals and any dirt that they generate stay on our side of the fence, not the neighbors’.  These same neighbors have a VERY mean dog that they sometimes let out front unleashed. I love dogs, but their dog scares me. In addition, they have a semi-industrial machine shop in their renovated garage in their backyard. I can’t hear myself think over the sound of the power tools, yet they claim that my chickens and goats make too much noise. Listen for yourself . All recordings were taken from the same window that opens onto my animal yard.

Perhaps we should capture and eliminate all of the city’s parrots, crows, mockingbirds, and other song birds to put an end to their chorus? The everyday neighborhood sounds are louder and much more annoying than my hens and goats: the nighttime squeals of feral cats in heat, the sound of the constant helicopters circling up above, the sound of traffic including city street cleaners and trash collectors in the wee hours of the morning, the constant hum of lawn mowers and weed whackers,

the repetitive racket of the ice cream vendor  trucks, and although I love dogs the sound of a loud dog barking.

When I asked the wife if she could please sign my petition, she started complaining that our chickens and goats have been a nuisance all summer, that they stink and make noise all the time, keeping her from leaving her windows open. She said this in front of other neighbors. First of all, we were out of town most of the summer of 2009, and there were NO animals on our premises the entire time. Our chickens were being taken care of elsewhere, and we bought the two goats when we were out of town, so they didn’t arrive in Long Beach until the very end of the summer. Secondly, right before we left town, we had what I thought was a pleasant conversation with both the husband and the wife in their backyard. They said that there wasn’t a problem, and not to worry, that they’ll tell us if there is ever a problem, that they’re not the type to run and complain to the city. Yeah right!

When Animal Control first came to visit our property, the Animal Control officer agreed that the area was maintained in a sanitary condition and that it did not smell offensive.

Our neighbors who complained about our chickens and goats are the same neighbors who feel justified in chopping down our bamboo, without our permission, when they know we are not home.

This illustrates that any code that leaves it up to the neighbors’ discretion about whether or not it will be enforced is fatally flawed, because it has nothing to do about whether there is a real problem, but has everything to do about personalities. Some people just like to complain about everything, and not all neighbors are best buddies.

Finally, I just received the Rose Park Historic District February 2010 newsletter. Inside is an ad calling for volunteers to assist in Code Enforcement, to act as additional “eyes and ears” for the City. I am against this type of secret surveillance. It just creates an environment of mistrust and unease and is bound to lead to arrogant abuse of power. Everybody is entitled to call in a problem anyway. Why create a secret society of spies? Who then will we ever be able to trust and to call our neighbors, our friends?

Yours sincerely,

Donna Marykwas, Ph.D.

Our goats & chickens.

They saw me at the window encouraging them to speak to me for the recording, so this is louder than they usually are.

Neighbors’ workshop noises,

quite often.

Neighbors mowing

their lawn.

Note the constant background rock n’ roll.

Our goats were already evicted because of these same noisy neighbors, but you can barely hear our chickens.